Pioneers Crossing the Mountains to Oregon
"Caught sight of the mountain house with a beautiful green garden around. The valley is about three miles wide here. The cattle that are running around here are very fat..."*
This diary entry from the summer of 1853 records the relief of a young pioneer, Welborn Beeson, as his wagon train completed the hard passage through the Siskiyou Mountains and reached this outpost of civilization.
During these early years a stream of travelers passed by the Mountain House on foot, on horseback, and in wagons, driving sheep or cattle or leading trains of pack mules. The inn offered a place they could feed and rest their animals, buy meals for themselves, and sleep in a bed with sheets. In 1853 the three young business partners (one of whom, John Gibbs, is shown here) bought a license to sell "spirituous liquors," thus establishing the only tavern within 150 miles.
Location, location, location. The Mountain House grew into a thriving business, with abundant gardens, storehouses full of staples, and niceties like decanters and mirrors. Free enterprise was already starting to smooth the rough edges off the frontier.
*Quoted in Mill Creek Journal by Kay Atwood, 1987.